I have one student who loves to share stories with me about her weekend, something that happened that morning, or something that happened the night before. These stories are very long and she tells them at a whisper. Sometimes these stories occur during our work time and they prevent her from focusing on her activity. I've recently resorted to giving her talking sticks. She gets three sticks each day. She has to use these sticks when she wants to tell me a special story. This doesn't include questions about her work. She can ask me as many school related questions as she needs. The talking sticks are for those random stories that she can't wait to share. The second day she had her taking sticks, she almost used them up within the first hour of school. I reminded her that if she used them all, she would not be able to share any stories with me for the rest of the day. She thought about it, and returned to her seat clenching her last talking stick. It's been two weeks since I gave her the first set of talking sticks. On Friday, she even had one to spare that she didn't need to use. Now that's progress.
How do you balance your students' need to connect with you and each other and your instructional time? Please share in the comments below.